By Mark Byrne, Business, Economics and Social Studies (BESS) student, studying abroad in Singapore Management University.
Studying in Singapore has already surpassed my expectations. The humidity and thunder storms have too. The city is beautiful and safe. The greenery that decorates the metropolitan area can’t be justified in any filtered Instagram post. The Singaporeans are so friendly. Although I have only been here for a short period of time I have been made feel at home from the outset.
I have spent the past month studying in Singapore Management University (SMU). The university itself was only founded in 2000 but it already excels in a number of areas such as Management and Finance. I am taking some fascinating modules such as ‘Analysis of Derivative Securities’ and ‘Mergers & Acquisitions’. These challenging classes are interactive and small in size. This has been an enjoyable experience and in stark contrast to some Trinity 1St year modules packed with 400+ people. My lecturers are primarily Asian and they have some interesting views on global markets and current events. It has been refreshing to analyse problems from a different perspective.
One of the main reasons I chose Singapore was because I wanted to travel. I have. So far I have been to the maddest city in the world, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and a more relaxed city in Kuching, Malaysia. Both have been so enjoyable to experience their different cultures. I am also planning a trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia in the coming weeks. Flights are so cheap if you can get them at the right time and hostels are too. I am also staying on top of my studies.
The Singaporeans have a reputation for being hard workers. I was constantly told before I came over that students here literally spend their college life in the library. I personally believe they work too hard. Students are trapped in a system where they’re only focused on their GPA. The majority of students I have met emphasise that if they don’t get an A+ they won’t get the job they want. Undoubtedly grades are important. However, many of the students are missing out on more enjoyable and sociable aspects of college life. In Ireland, grades are important but so is your hobbies, interests, personality and experiences. The stiff Singapore system is enjoyable as an exchange student but I wouldn’t like to be trapped as a graduating undergrad.
Saying that, Singapore is good craic. There are so many like-minded exchange students. The food in the Hawker centres is fantastic. These cheap food courts facilitate the survival of low budget individuals. Singapore is expensive but like the Irish tax system, there is some loopholes i.e. these Hawkers. I live in an apartment with 2 Americans, an Australian, an English and a Canadian. Having all these different nationalities has proved to be very helpful making friends. I am excited for the coming months.
Visit www.tcd.ie/study for more information on studying at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin